As the United States prepares to announce a New shipment of military equipment to Ukraine As Kiev pushes its Western partners to acquire modern battle tanks and other heavy weapons, Moscow responded Thursday with a familiar series of threats. Once again, Russia hinted at its nuclear arsenal in an effort to dissuade the United States and its NATO allies from helping Ukraine resist on a large scale. President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion Almost 11 months ago.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a senior Putin ally who now serves as vice president from the Security Council, said in a Telegram post.
“The nuclear powers have not lost major conflicts on which their fate depends,” added Medvedev, whose hostile rhetoric has escalated over the course of nearly a year of war.
Asked whether Medvedev’s surprising statement represented an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine or the broader confrontation between Russia and the West, the Kremlin spokesman said on Thursday that the remarks were in line with Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
“There are no contradictions there,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
On an eerily similar note, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church declared in a sermon on Thursday that “attempting to destroy Russia would mean the end of the world.”
“Today there are very great threats to the world, to our country and to the entire human race, because some crazy people had the idea that the great Russian power, which has powerful weapons, is populated by very strong people… who have always gone out,” said Patriarch Kirill, a staunch supporter of all Kremlin politics. , “victorious, and can be defeated.”
In Washington, Foreign Ministry spokesman Vedant Patel said the latest comments were consistent with Russia’s previous statements on the use of nuclear weapons.
“This is not the first time we have seen this kind of rhetoric from Russia on such a large scale… We believe that provocative rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons is not only dangerous, it is reckless and increases the risk of miscalculation and should frankly be avoided,” Patel said. “A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.”
This week the Russian authorities staged a show of force. Putin has given orders to expand the Russian army by about 300,000 people, which will bring the number of active-duty soldiers to 1.5 million over the next three years. He also ordered the creation of a new army corps and two military districts near European borders.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later laid out an ambitious plan for these changes, saying that new military structures would be created around Moscow, St. Petersburg and Karelia. The latter location is directly on the border with Finland, a Nordic country in the process of becoming a NATO member.
Shugoi said the “self-sufficient” units would be deployed in Ukrainian territory illegally annexed by Russia, although the Russian military does not fully control those areas.
“Ensuring the military security of the state and the protection of new federal subjects and vital facilities of the Russian Federation can only be ensured by strengthening the main structural components of the Armed Forces,” Shoigu was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency. .
The Kremlin has described the planned military expansion as a response to the West’s alleged “proxy war” against Russia in Ukraine – a claim Moscow has long used to justify its brutal invasion.
Some analysts note that the changes announced this week — notably the division of the current single Western Military District into several smaller ones — are in some ways a step into the past.
“Shoigu’s announcements since December have been a bit fanciful. In most cases, the changes in attitude are back in the past (the pre-2010 era), not a step forward,” said Dara Massicot, senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. “[His] More rails data and more sections will require more people and equipment to fill (even if they fall short of goals). This is difficult to achieve by 2026 without major changes in the Russian economy and personnel system.
On Wednesday, Putin toured a defense facility, the Obukhovsky plant in Saint Petersburg, which has been sanctioned by the United States, to praise efforts to increase production of heavy weapons and machinery.
Russia has lost a significant amount of equipment either destroyed, captured by Ukraine, or abandoned by retreating Russian soldiers over the past 11 months. Independent Russian and international media have also reported in detail on countless cases when poorly equipped Russian soldiers ended up on the front lines, indicating production difficulties in the country’s military-industrial complex.
Putin told workers at the factory that Russia was justified in describing Ukraine as a country full of “neo-Nazis”, insisting that victory was “inevitable”.
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